Albert A. Harcourt, Mercury in Opera Psyché - Original 1880 watercolour painting

An original 1880 watercolour painting, Albert A. Harcourt Mercury in Opera Psyché.

A striking portrait of Marie Williams playing the character of Mercury in the opera Psyché performed at the Royalty Theatre in 1880. The Royalty Theatre was a small London theatre situated at 73 Dean Street, Soho, which opened in 1840 as Miss Kelly's Theatre and Dramatic School and finally closed to the public in 1938.

On buff coloured paper.  There is a graphite sketch of a reclining lady on the verso of the paper, as shown.

Initialled lower left. Inscribed lower centre: 'Marie williams as Mercury in Cupid. Royalty. 28:4:80'.
Some minor age toning as shown.
16.8cm x 10.2cm.

This work comes from an intriguing collection of pictures we have for sale by Albert A. Harcourt, of South Belgravia, London. Harcourt clearly took a very keen interest in some of the visual spectacles that were available to him, as a late Victorian gentleman-about-town. Many of the studies in this collection depict the characters in popular plays and operettas that were on the London stage during the period, and a particular taste for the French-themed productions that were fashionable at the time, with their elaborate costumes.

Ships were clearly another of Harcourt’s interests: many different types of sailing vessel are depicted in the sketchbook, again with a real eye for detail. Finally, though an address in Belgravia would certainly have been convenient for visiting London’s theatres, Harcourt appears to have been extremely well travelled. One sketch of a ship in our collection is described as being made ‘off Cape Horn,’ while other works depict Native Americans, apparently in the United States. Other, later sketchbooks by Harcourt exist showing the various types of people to be found in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). Wherever he went, it seems, Harcourt was fascinated by variations in dress and appearance, and the means of travel around the world.

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Product code: JK-864

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